Mastering Web servers: Apache HTTP & Tomcat

Open Source Web Servers

Quick Summary: This article explores various open-source web servers, delving into their history, technologies, and features and offering valuable insights into their significance and use in web hosting.


According to statistics, open-source web servers power over 80% of websites and web applications. Apache was the only web server worth mentioning for quite a long time. In recent years, however, other open-source web servers have gained popularity.

This article will highlight a few popular open-source web servers and discuss their history, technology, features, and more. Let’s get started!

What is an open-source web chat server?

Open-source web chat servers are software solutions that allow real-time communication on websites. Furthermore, they are freely accessible, customizable, and you can host on your server for private or public chat.


Nginx is a web server that works a reverse proxy, load balancer, and HTTP cache. Furthermore, it is free and open-source software released under the terms of a BSD-like license. A large fraction of web servers use NGINX, often as a load balancer.

NGINX relies on an asynchronous event-driven architecture to help power its goal of handling massive concurrent sessions. Additionally, it has become a prevalent web server among administrators due to its light resource utilization and ability to scale quickly.

Apache HTTP Server

The Apache HTTP Server—often called httpd or simply Apache—was launched in 1995 and celebrated its 20th birthday in February 2015. Apache is the most popular web server for 52% of all websites globally.

While Apache httpd is often seen running on Linux, you can also deploy Apache on OS X and Windows. Furthermore, Apache is, unsurprisingly, licensed under the Apache License version 2. The web server uses a modular architecture in which you can load extra modules to extend its features. For example, loading the mod_proxy will allow for a proxy/gateway on your server, and mod_proxy_balancer will enable load balancing for all supported protocols. As of version 2.4, Apache also supports HTTP/2 through a new module, mod_http2.

Apache Tomcat

Apache Tomcat is an open-source Java servlet container that is a web server. A Java servlet is a Java program that extends the capabilities of a server. Although servlets can respond to any request, they most commonly implement applications hosted on Web servers. Such web servlets are the Java counterpart to other dynamic web content technologies such as PHP and ASP.NET. Furthermore,

Tomcat’s codebase was donated by Sun Microsystems to the Apache Software Foundation in 1999 and became a top-level Apache project in 2005. Additionally, it currently powers just under 1% of all websites.

Apache Tomcat, released under the Apache License version 2, typically executes Java applications. However, you can extend it with Coyote to perform the role of a regular web server that serves local files as HTTP documents.

Overall, Apache Tomcat is often listed among other open-source Java application servers. Some examples are JBoss, Wildfly, and Glassfish.

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Node.js is a server-side JavaScript environment for network applications such as web servers. With a minor market position, Node.js powers 0.2% of all websites. Node.js was initially written in 2009 by Ryan Dahl. Furthermore, the Node.js project, governed by the Node.js Foundation, is facilitated by the Linux Foundation’s Collaborative Projects program.

The difference between Node.js and other popular web servers is that it is primarily a cross-platform runtime environment to build network applications. Node.js applies an event-driven architecture capable of asynchronous I/O.

These design choices optimize throughput and scalability in web applications allowing them to run real-time communication and browser games. Additionally,Node.js also highlights the difference in web development stacks, where Node.js is part of the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript stack, as opposed to Apache or NGINX, which are a part of many different software stacks.


Lighttpd—pronounced “lightly”—was initially released in March 2003. It currently powers approximately 0.1% of all websites under a BSD license.

Furthermore, Lighttpd distinguishes itself with its low memory footprint, small CPU load, and speed optimizations. Additionally, It uses event-driven architecture, supports parallel connections, and FastCGI, SCGI, Auth, Output-compression.

URL-rewriting, and many more features. Lighttpd is a popular web server for the Catalyst and Ruby on Rails web frameworks. Find more information on the project homepage.

If you want to try one of the popular web servers, download a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) or LEMP (Linux, NGINX, MySQL, PHP) stack. Many such stacks provide different flavors in Apache and PHP versions.

Additionally, You can usually install them with one click or via your Linux package manager.

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Open Source Web Servers


The list isn’t exhaustive but highlights the popular open-source web servers and their support technologies. These servers enable efficient website and app hosting, looking at the vast array of options available.


Yes, Apache Tomcat is an open-source server and servlet container. It helps host, Java-based web applications.

An open-source web server is software that hosts websites, allowing them to be accessed by users on the internet. Furthermore, its source code is freely available for modification and distribution.

Apache Tomcat is a web container. Furthermore, it allows users to run web-based applications based on Servlets and Java Server Pages. Additionally, you can use it to serve HTTP requests.

Apache HTTP Server, or Apache HTTP Web Server, is the most popular web server Around 34.1% of web applications and websites operate on the Apache web server.

The Apache HTTP Server is one of the most popular open-source web servers worldwide. Furthermore, several operating systems can run Apache HTTP Server, including Linux, Unix, and Windows. PHP, Perl, Python, and supports several other programming languages.